Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing tips & ideas to help you grow your business, by Jim Connolly

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What’s inside that yellow box?

If you run a business and have a website, blog, newsletter or use any form of online marketing, you will find the yellow box below this post really useful! (If you are reading this via email, click here and scroll to the bottom of this post.)

Inside that yellow box is a link that will take you to my new blog; which is dedicated exclusively to helping you get the best results from your online marketing.

This new blog covers everything from blogging, email marketing and SEO, through to how to write great content that converts readers into clients.  It’s a free resource, with a couple of dozen posts (and growing) written by me, all of which are unique to that site and just waiting for you to read them.

If you find this blog useful, I believe you will get a great deal from my new blog too.  You can find my new site by following this link.

Thank you!

Visionary, thought leader, maverick or fool? You decide!

Over the past few hours alone, I have seen people using their online profiles to clearly indicate who they are.

  • One lady called herself a visionary.
  • A guy called himself a thought leader.
  • Many referred to themselves as mavericks.

In each case, what the person thought they were doing, was elevating their status.  Of course, in reality they were showing the world that they know nothing about the way that true visionaries, thought leaders or mavericks work.

In my experience, the people who actually possess the rare qualities, which these ill-informed people claim to have, do not have to tell us what they are.  They earn the titles, which other people then use to describe them.

  • Steve Jobs doesn’t call himself a visionary - We see it for ourselves, by what he does.
  • Seth Godin doesn’t call himself a thought leader – We see it for ourselves, by what he does.
  • Leo Laporte doesn’t call himself a maverick – We see it for ourselves, by what he does.

The bottom line: Just as trust is to be earned and not demanded, so are the rare attributes, which so many people readily claim for themselves online.  People show us they are visionaries, thought leaders or mavericks by their actions – Not the labels they eagerly use in a poor attempt to impress others.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: Jonny2love

How to live without limits!

In all probability, you are using just a fraction of your potential.  In this brief post, I’ll explain why!

It starts with exploring our fake, self limiting beliefs.

There are so many gifted people out there, capable of great things; only they wrongly believe that greatness is beyond them.  In many cases, the only obstacle between them and massive success, are the self-limiting beliefs they have.  Because they don’t believe they are able to do something, they don’t even try.

If you believe something to be true, it becomes true for you (your truth.)   For instance, if you truly believe that you will lose your home and go broke if you start a business, you won’t even try; even though you may have been capable of building a business worth millions.  The belief, rather than the reality, stops you from getting started.

Self limiting beliefs can be removed

If you believe that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, you will stop learning once you become old (whenever that is?)  I used to think people who were 25 were old (when I was 15.)  That would have been a severe limitation and one that was completely groundless.  I know one lady who changed her whole outlook on life, at the age of 65.  I know a guy, who started to learn karate at the age of 70.

Who said YOU can’t?

One of the things we all need to learn about ourselves, is how to separate our genuine limitations from our fake, self imposed limitations.  Look at what you believe you can’t do and check the source of that belief.  For example, if you believe you can’t dance, who said so?  Was it a qualified dance instructor, who has seen how well you can dance after professional tuition, or are you basing that belief on the feedback you got, the last time you danced in public?

Think about the things you want to achieve and then examine the beliefs that are stopping you.  If they are fake, self imposed limitations, then get the help you need and get started!  In most cases, you will be amazed at just what you are capable of.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: laverrue

What everyone needs to know about their website or blog!

What kind of first impression do you create, when people find you online?

I often follow links from Twitter and Facebook to small business websites and blogs.  A lot of the time, these sites look amateur, dated or both.  No matter how good the actual services offered by these businesses are, their shoddy Internet presence means most people won’t take them seriously!  Prospective clients arrive, see a low quality site and instantly build a negative initial impression of that person or business.

Mixed messages

When we say one thing and then do something else, we create what’s called a mixed message.  Mixed messages create confusion, which is the fastest way to lose business or miss a sale.  One of the oldest sayings in marketing is:

“A confused mind always says NO!”

In other words, if someone is asked to make a buying decision when they are confused, they will typically say “no!” and just keep things as they are.  If you promise people a solid, professional service, your website or blog needs to look solid and professional too.  If they find a site that looks cheap or unprofessional, you are giving your prospective clients a mixed message, which creates confusion and loses you business.

First impressions count

First impressions are extremely important in marketing and business generally.  You need to ensure that when someone arrives at your website, they see something which gives a great account of you and your services and positions you in their mind as a professional.  Your site should confirm your promises.  It should clearly show that you have a professional attitude to business.  If it doesn’t, it will be costing you a fortune in missed business and opportunities.

Depending on which survey you read between 85% and 95% of people, will visit the site of a potential vendor, before deciding to do business with them.  This means it’s extremely important that what they find when they arrive at YOUR site, inspires them to feel confident about you and your services.

How I resolved this problem

I resolved this problem, by building this site using something called Headway.  It allowed me to build a site myself, even though I know nothing about code or web designing.  You can see a video of Headway in action, using this affiliate link.  Since moving this site to Headway, I have been able to improve my online presence and have total control over the look and feel of this site.  It’s one of the best commercial investments I ever made and it cost peanuts (about the same as a game for my son’s xbox!)

Alternatively, you can hire a web designer and commission them to build you a site.  If you take that route, I suggest you find a site you love the look and feel of and find out who designed it.

The bottom line: Anyone can have a professional looking website or blog, regardless of their budget.  There’s just no need to lose all that potential business.  This is really important, if you are serious about your marketing results and the image of your business!

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

 

Photo: Darkuncle

The secret to making GREAT business decisions!

How intuitive are you, regarding business decisions?

Someone recently asked me: “What is the best way to ensure you pick the right clients to work with?”

My answer, apparently, surprised them a little.  I suggested they listen to their intuition!

Some small business owners and freelancers will work with literally anyone who will pay them.  That’s a short-sighted way to try and grow a successful business.  The reality is that not all clients are created equal.  Some are a pleasure to work with.  They stand-up to their part of the deal and it works like a dream.  Others are a very bad fit.  You can’t build a successful business working with that second group.  They drain you mentally and neither party will get what they need.

So, how do you ensure you get to work with the right people?

How do you turn your client relationships into non-stop win-wins?

You use the power of your intuition!

The power of intuition

Identifying the right kind of clients to work with is important, however, because we are all unique, your ideal client will look different to mine.  The thing we are always searching for, is a client that is the right mix.  You need to feel right about them.  There needs to be a requirement on their side for what you offer and a commitment, to do their part.  You need to believe that you can give them what they need and help them achieve the agreed end result.  Win-win!

Notice I used the word feel in that previous paragraph?

This is because I strongly believe that when it comes to deciding who to work with, our gut feeling or intuition is often extremely accurate.  In the past 15 years, I have ignored my intuition just a few times, and paid the price.  Today, I go with my intuition on every business decision.  I have learned to trust it.

Of course, your intuition is invaluable in every area of your business, not just when it comes to identifying great people to work with.  For example, I have seen opportunities, which looked fine on paper, but which just felt wrong.  I have passed on them, and later spoke with people who got involved and regretted it.  On the other side of the ledger, I was warned by everyone not to relocate from London, to a tiny rural village, here in Yorkshire.  However, as soon as I saw the place, it immediately felt right. It was one of the best decisions I ever made, even though on paper, it was nuts!

So, do you follow your intuition?

When I ask people that question, they either immediately get it or they think I am talking mumbo-jumbo.  The thing is, there’s nothing strange or weird about intuition.

When we get a feeling about someone (or something) it’s because our brain has frantically searched around, looking through our past experiences.  If the results were positive, you will get a positive feeling about progressing.  Your past experiences have suggested that this is more likely to turn out well, than turn out poorly.  Conversely, if the results are negative, you get the opposite feeling.  Your past experiences suggest that this is a bad mix and there’s a good chance it will turn out wrong.

When it comes to picking clients or business partners (or making any kind of business decision), I strongly recommend you take your gut feelings into account.  They are not always right, but they are a great deal more accurate than you may believe.  If you pay close attention to your intuition, it gets progressively more accurate too.

Do you follow your intuition?

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: Jerine

Do you make this common business mistake?

One of the first lessons I learned when I started out in business was this:

“Always think really hard, before you slam the door of opportunity behind you!”

It was 1995, I was 29 years of age and my marketing business was just a few months old.  My former employer wrote me a letter, suggesting I was wrong to leave such a highly-paid job, to go into business for myself.  He wanted me to know that I could come back, WHEN my business failed.  I wrote him a pretty sarcastic letter in response, ruining our relationship.

Later that year, I needed his help with an introduction to a contact of his, that would have been really useful for my new business.  I was unable to ask for it, because I had burned my bridges.  I was angry about his letter, I responded way too quickly and never understood at the time that he was simply trying to get his most successful salesperson back.

I never made the same mistake again!  From that point on, I have always left the window of opportunity open.  This has led to hundreds of opportunities over the past decade and a half, which would never have existed.

Be the bigger person

Let small minded people do what they do.  That’s not good enough for you, though!  You need to hold yourself up to a higher standard than they do, if you want to develop a successful business.  Yes, it may make you feel better for a few moments, to rant about how angry they made you feel, but ultimately it’s self-limiting.  It’s a waste of energy.  It kills relationships and creates nothing, other than negativity and bad feeling.

Each time you damage your relationship with someone, you also risk them sharing their experience of you, with their network.  No one needs a vibe like that circulating in the marketplace.  Be the bigger person.  Remember that your success in business is directly linked to your commercial relationships and the way people think and feel about you.

Yes, if someone steals from you or has set out to cause you direct harm or there has been a major issue, disassociate from them.  But when it’s a difference of opinion or simply time to move on, wish them well and get on with your business.  Let them know that the door is open, even if only ajar!

Do you have an example of breaking a connection with someone, which you later regretted?  Let us know what you think!

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: Dlofink

Get rid of your income problem once and for all

Today’s post is all about how to remove the income ceiling from your business!

I met with a lady recently, who earns $3,000 a month from her home-based, coaching business.  She wanted me to help her increase her income to $7,500 a month.  As her business model is to sell her time for an hourly fee, I started by asking her how many “spare” hours she had available.

All things being equal, to increase her income by more than 100%, she would need more than 100% extra time each week.  She explained she was already working flat-out, 9 hours a day, 6 days a week.  In other words, with her current business model, her business had already reached it’s income ceiling. This is what’s commonly known as a scaling problem.  Her current business model doesn’t scale to allow her to reach her income target.

Here’s the thing: There are only so many working days in a year and your marketplace will only be prepared to pay a certain fee for your time.  Once these two have been maxed-out, you hit a scaling issue.

Here’s how you can remove the income ceiling from your business and how I helped that coach make her business infinitely scalable!

Scaling your services

You may decide to hire people and train them to do what you do (if you can), but many small business owners prefer not to; especially those who work from home.  If they decide to employ more people, they need to consider investing in commercial premises and stocking those premises; which is expensive and a risk, as they have no idea if the new business model will work.  Equally, if they elect to hire people to work from home, there are issues regarding quality monitoring.  Both those models can work, and for many they do work (extremely well), but it’s not for everyone.

In my opinion, it’s also an outdated model for most small business service providers, who want to have a great income and a great lifestyle too!

In the example of the coach I mentioned earlier, the route was to stop her exchanging her time for money.  We looked at her developing a very interesting 12 part course, which is delivered over a 12 month period to clients who pay her an annual fee.  The course consists of workbooks, videos and a members only website, packed with useful information.  If the marketplace decides this digital product is great value, once it’s developed it can be scaled indefinitely.  There’s no income ceiling.  With the right marketing and a strong product, this coach can achieve a 6 figure (or 7 figure) income goal with no scaling issues.

Here’s a suggestion!

If you are a service provider, you have specialist knowledge, which you can develop into a high value product or program.  Make your product or program something that can be downloaded, like the coach I mentioned earlier, and you eliminate the need for; stock, storage, distribution and suppliers.  People like myself, with large, targeted readerships can sell your product and collectively get it in front of millions of people each year.

If you know what you are doing, the potential is huge.

Today is a great time for you to start thinking about the scalability of your current business model.  It’s not just a case of deciding what you want to earn, looking at your hourly rate and then figuring how many hours you have available to sell.  You also need to consider what your quality of life will be, if you do manage to maximize all your chargeable hours.  For example, I know “successful” accountants and lawyers, who have to work 14/16 hour days, following a day’s illness or even an IT issue.

A great free resource

If you want to know more about the best way to market a product or program online, I have some great news for you!  I have a new free site, which shows you how to harness Internet marketing and content marketing to develop your own massively valuable online marketing channel.  It will give you lots of ideas on how you can develop a more scalable, profitable (and fun) business model!  It’s packed with free information with more being added all the time, so if this sounds interesting, check it out and remember to subscribe.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: zoutedrop

How to achieve the business and lifestyle you want, in 3 steps!

What’s going on in your business right now, is largely a reflection of your attitudes.

For example:

  • Your attitude to investing in professional help, will be directly reflected in the level of success you are experiencing right now.
  • Your attitude to your personal development, will be reflected in what you earn.  You don’t get paid for the hour you spend with a client, you get paid for THE VALUE you bring in that hour.
  • Your attitude to responsibility, will be reflected in the progress you are making or not making right now.  All the time we blame; our past, the economy, our parents or our star sign for our lack of progress, we will struggle.  It’s not the direction of the wind, but the way we set our sails that determines where we go!

Of course, all of this is governed by our attitude to change.  If we elect to complain about our results, but refuse to make the changes required for success, we remain the same.

If you have an area of your business, which is under-performing, change your attitudes regarding it.  With the right information and the decision to use that information, you can massively improve your results – even achieve life-changing results!  However, this will almost always require a shift in attitudes, regarding how you feel about paying for the help you need (and / or) your self-motivation.

The great news here, is that YOU control your attitudes.  No, it’s not easy to change an attitude, but it’s not that hard either; once you decide you want to get serious about your future.

If you want to sleep better at night, remove money worries, live where you want to live and enjoy the freedom that comes with it, try this basic 3 step process.  It’s what people who already enjoy all those things did:

STOP what you are currently doing!

Find someone with the answers you need and listen to them.

Use what they give you.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: The Cleveland Kid

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